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Competition: Ragdale Ring pop-up theatre 2019, Illinois

An open contest has been launched to design a $15,000 temporary theatre at the Ragdale artists retreat in Illinois, USA (Deadline: 8 March)

Open to architects, designers and artists, the competition seeks ‘contemporary, fanciful and functional’ proposals for a new performance and gathering space at the rural arts community 50km north of Chicago.

The Ragdale Ring project, backed by the Ragdale Foundation, aims to deliver a contemporary reimagining of a 1912 theatre created by the estate’s founder, architect Howard Van Doren Shaw. The winning team will be invited to construct their scheme on the site by 12 June.

2018 winner NOODLE SOUP by Ohio-based Galo Cañzares and Stephanie Sang Delgado

2018 winner NOODLE SOUP by Ohio-based Galo Cañzares and Stephanie Sang Delgado

2018 winner NOODLE SOUP by Ohio-based Galo Cañzares and Stephanie Sang Delgado

According to the brief: ‘We are seeking inventive, site-responsive, large-scale submissions that explore intersections of architecture, sculpture, landscape, public art, and performance disciplines.

‘Proposals that consider contemporary, fanciful, and functional interpretations of the original Ragdale Ring, designed by architect Howard Van Doren Shaw in 1912 as an outdoor garden theatre, are encouraged.’

Ragdale is the former summer home of Van Doren Shaw, a leading member of the American Craftsman movement who completed a variety of major buildings in the Chicago area including the 1900 remodelling of the Second Presbyterian Church.

The large country house and 20ha estate were transformed into an artist’s community by Shaw’s granddaughter, Alice Judson Hayes in 1976. Today the complex hosts more than 150 residencies every year with up to 13 artists of varied disciplines working at Ragdale at any time.

1912 Ragdale Ring by Howard Van Doren Shaw

1912 Ragdale Ring by Howard Van Doren Shaw

1912 Ragdale Ring by Howard Van Doren Shaw

The original Ragdale Ring was created as a temporary outdoor theatre stage by Shaw for his wife Frances who produced plays for audiences of up to 300. The annual competition, held since 2013, aims to recreate the structure with a contemporary twist. The winner of last year’s commission was NOODLE SOUP by Ohio-based Galo Cañzares and Stephanie Sang Delgado.

Proposals for the latest commission should include a temporary outdoor theatre space capable of seating up to 300 people with a 6x6m stage and cover from the rain and sunlight. Proposals which address the reuse, recycling, and dispersal of all material used in the project are encouraged.

The overall winning team, to be announced on 22 March, will be awarded a production grant of $15,000 and offered a residency from May to June during which they will construct the design with a team of up to 10 people in time for the event opening on June 14.

How to apply

Deadline

The deadline for submissions is 8 March

Fee

$25

Contact details

The Ragdale Foundation
1260 N. Green Bay Road
Lake Forest
IL 60045

Email: info@ragdale.org
Tel: +(01) 847.234.1063

View the competition website for more information

Noodle Soup case study: Q&A with Galo Cañizares and Stephanie Sang Delgado

The winners of last year’s contest discuss lessons learned creating a Ragdale Ring installation

2018 winner NOODLE SOUP by Ohio-based Galo Cañzares and Stephanie Sang Delgado

2018 winner NOODLE SOUP by Ohio-based Galo Cañzares and Stephanie Sang Delgado

2018 winner NOODLE SOUP by Ohio-based Galo Cañzares and Stephanie Sang Delgado

How did your contest winning Noodle Soup project respond to the Ragdale Ring brief?

From the beginning, Noodle Soup, for us, was about creating an interface at the architectural scale. It was conceived as an interactive playscape pavilion that would be flexible enough for a range of outdoor performance but also be picturesque enough integrate in the wooded scenery of Ragdale. Our interpretation of the Ragdale brief was focused on empowering the individual’s artistic agency with a whimsical, playful, and transformable landscape. Through the noodles, the large-scale bean bags, and the orientation of the walls, conceived as having been ‘peeled’ up from the ground, the user has unlimited possibilities. From simply sitting on the walls to watch a performance on the stage, threading a noodle though a wall opening to create a slide, or using the looped ones for a small gathering, the possibilities are endless.

Which architectural, material, visual and other methods did you harness in your design?

We were interested in dualities. The first focusing on the duality of static and dynamic. Our design focused on two major elements: the walls and the noodles. The walls are a set of fuzzy, fixed structures that around a series of soft, linear, pliable pieces of furniture that we called noodles. The noodles, at 30 feet long, can be looped, knotted, slumped over, piled up, threaded through walls, etc… The noodles give the user the opportunity and ability to modify their landscape.

2018 winner NOODLE SOUP by Ohio-based Galo Cañzares and Stephanie Sang Delgado

2018 winner NOODLE SOUP by Ohio-based Galo Cañzares and Stephanie Sang Delgado

2018 winner NOODLE SOUP by Ohio-based Galo Cañzares and Stephanie Sang Delgado

The second duality we focused on was between natural and artificial. Made from traditional wood framing, the walls are conceived as peeling up from the ground on one side and sculpted seating on the other. The contrast between natural and artificial is further explored by having the ‘peeled’ side clad in green synthetic turf, blending into its environment. On the other hand, the sculpted side is clad in neon yellow shade of synthetic turf to bring out its sculpted and artificial nature. The noodles are also a bright shade of yellow to bring attention to its constantly changing configurations.

What advice would you have to participants in this year’s Ragdale Ring contest?

Have fun. But really, have fun with your design. The Ragdale Ring is a place for people of all ages to see performances that range from bands to puppet shows to stilt dancers. The foundation is a great place for creativity to be explored from the artists in residency, the designers involved in the ring, the visiting performers, and the audience.

2018 winner NOODLE SOUP by Ohio-based Galo Cañzares and Stephanie Sang Delgado

2018 winner NOODLE SOUP by Ohio-based Galo Cañzares and Stephanie Sang Delgado

2018 winner NOODLE SOUP by Ohio-based Galo Cañzares and Stephanie Sang Delgado